Before the Rockies got a chance to really display their new $24MM purchase, an unfortunate injury will force them put him back in the display case for another day joining reliever Chris Rusin and starting pitcher Antonio Senzatela.
Signed in large part because of his postseason resume and swing that plays perfectly for the confines of Coors Field, Daniel Murphy will be placed on the newly named Injured List with a fractured left index finger.
Opening a starting position at first base, in addition to a spot batting second, Bud Black has numerous options for filling this void.
Thanks to a glut of depth on the bench as well as the 40-man roster, Colorado shouldn’t skip too much of a beat with Murphy on the shelf.
In his initial game away, the three-time All-Star witnessed Ryan McMahon move over to first base while super utilityman Garrett Hampson got the nod at second.
Hampson, making his first start of the season in game three, made a spectacular diving stop that was capped by a strong throw to first to cut down the speedy Starlin Castro.
Offensively, left fielder David Dahl moved into the 33-year-old’s vacated two-spot with McMahon batting fifth to relieve Dahl. Both men struck out twice, which was a common story throughout the lineup on Saturday night, but extended their 2019 hitting streaks to three games.
Veteran Mark Reynolds, Colorado’s Opening Day first baseman from 2016-17, is also an option to take Murphy’s place in the field.
Even with the addition of a new 25th man from the minors, a platoon of Reynolds at first and Hampson at second – with McMahon bouncing between the two positions – would be a natural solution for Black and his staff.
The obvious fit to replace Murphy on the 25-man roster is Pat Valaika. Off the heels of a solid spring where he hit .286 with 4 home runs and 13 runs batted in during just 49 plate appearances, Valaika’s demotion to Triple-A was more due to the torrid offensive display by McMahon and the meteoric rise of Hampson than through any fault of his own.
Were it not for a broken hamate bone in the left hand of Josh Fuentes that sidelined the 2018 Pacific Coast League MVP and robbed him of his first major league camp, we could have seen not only his big league debut, but the first pair of cousins playing together for Colorado, a first in the more than quarter-century history of the Rockies.